Big Bang!

Diego Gualandris, Andrea Mauti and Lorenzo Silvestri

“Explode a hole in the wall, and pass through it”, I thought to myself as I had to go around the Colosseum to get to the Prati neighbourhood in my taxi. It was the 27th September 2017, it was the day of my birthday as well as the day of my soft-move to Rome. I was heading for the first time to Basement Roma. At the time, my mantra was still “keep moving, no matter what” (stillness was not something to be desired yet). It was on that same day that I started developing ambiguous feelings towards the city’s archaeological barriers: the thick Roman walls, the Fori Imperiali, the Colosseum and their symbolic legacy of apparent inactivity. “Why can’t they keep living – why can’t we run through the ruins?”

Scientifically, to explode means to release energy (rapidly, and violently). Emotionally, an explosion is an outpour of feelings (too much, too many). Metaphorically, it means to expand, and suddenly transform pent-up energy into an immediate activity (intense, and nonlinear). Online, to explode means to break the internet. In all these definitions though, a fast, potent motion is triggered. The directions of this motion are often unpredictable. On the occasion of Big Bang!, three Rome-based artists have been invited to explode the meaning of what it means to keep moving.

The works of Lorenzo Silvestri (1999), Diego Gualandris (1993), and Andrea Mauti (1999), featured in Big Bang! all challenge – at times subtly while others quite explicitly– notions of stillness, melancholia, as well as monumentality. The show sets itself to ignite an unpredictable movement (an explosion💥?), both literally, and artistically as the three artists are shaping an artistic generation whose energy is a catalyst for an ongoing shift in the contemporary landscape.

In Lorenzo Silvestri’s video, Amo Roma, scappo da Roma (2022), four teenagers run tirelessly in front of Rome’s registry office on the Lungotevere of Pierleoni. Their final destination is unknown, but it doesn’t really matter. Through a very intimate research, Lorenzo reflects on the space he inhabits as an artist who grew up in Rome, knitting together a fragile web of personal relationships and urban glimpses that are familiar as much as they are alienating.

Diego Gualandris’ tridimensional portals burst the space. Both a fable’s writer and reader, Diego Gualandris transforms his research on tales of escapism into actual holes: passages, and shortcuts to move through the space’s previous stories and into new worlds. From tiny close-ups, to gigantic galaxies, the painted fables featured in Big Bang! are set in timeless sets: unbothered to exist chaotically in and out of time.

Andrea Mauti’s site specific installation Horizon (2023), fantasies of an archeology that does the exact opposite of what monuments do. Horizon plays with a very close future (and a hyper-capitalist present made of cultural waste among other forms of societal discards), rather than with its past. Through fantarcheology, Andrea Mauti merges science fiction and post-apocalyptic experiences to generate an organism that contradicts the stereotype of the city it grows in: an alien being whose toxicity is a catalyst for evolution, rather than for destruction alone.

And as I fantasise of exploding a hole in the Colosseum, and give a new sense of what it means to move through the ruins, Big Bang! takes a snap of a very specific moment in time through the work of three Italian artists – a movement that isn’t ending, nor slowing down, and whose directions, luckily, are hard to predict. ♥

Text by Sofia Gallarate


Andrea Mauti

Diego Gualandris

Lorenzo Silvestri

Diego Gualandris

Big Bang!
Diego Gualandris, Andrea Mauti and Lorenzo Silvestri
July 04 — Sept 25, 2023
Basement Roma Studio

All images:
Big Bang!
Diego Gualandris, Andrea Mauti and Lorenzo Silvestri
Installation view Basement Roma, 2023
Courtesy: the artists, ADA, Rome (Diego Gualandris, Andrea Mauti)
Photo: Roberto Apa

Diego Gualandris (Bergamo, IT, 1993) lives and works in Rome. He graduated in Painting in 2018 at the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. Recent solo exhibitions include: ADA, Rome (2022), Instituto Italiano de Cultura Ciudad de México, Mexico City (2022), ADA, Rome (2019), Tile Project Space, with Riccardo Sala, Milan (2018). Among recent group exhibitions: RETROFUTURE, curated by Luca Lo Pinto, Museo MACRO, Rome (2023), Mai 36 Galerie, curated by Antonio Grulli, Zurich (2023), Proyecto Nasal, curated by Matteo Binci, Mexico City (2022), Fondazione Giuliani, curated by A. Drake, I. Gianni, D. Vitali, Rome (2021), Pazzo Palazzo, Palazzo Monti, Brescia (2021), Fondazione Imago Mundi, curated by Mattia Solari, Elisa Carollo, Treviso (2021) Sonnenstube, Lugano (2021), Quadriennale d’arte 2020, curated by Sara Cosulich and Stefano Collicelli, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2020). Residency projects include: Instituto Italiano de Cultura, Mexico City (2022) Palazzo Monti, Brescia (2021) Castro, Rome (2019), Painting Workshop, Nuoro, Quadriennale di Roma (2019), Residenza la Fornace / Autunno, Spino d’Adda (2018), VIR, Viafarini in residence, Milano (2016). He has been awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, NY, in 2020.

Andrea Mauti (Rome, 1999), lives and works in Marino, Rome. He graduated at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome, in 2022. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include: Collettiva #2 Monitor, Pereto, Rome, Lisbon (2022), Scoppio Terzo, Terni (2022); sublimation_simulation, ADA, Rome (2022), Masters Salon’s paintings, in collaboration with European Academies of Fine Arts (2021), Hétérotopie, curated by Edoardo Monti Bubble’n’Squeak, Bruxelles (2021), Degree Show, Palazzo Monti, Brescia (2020), INSIEME, public exhibition curated by Gianni Politi, Via di Porta Labicana, Rome (2020), Back to Nature, curated by Costantino d’Orazio Villa Borghese, Rome (2020). Residency projects include: Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München (2021)

Lorenzo Silvestri (Rome, 1999) lives and works in Rome. In 2023 he graduated from NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti – in Painting and Visual Arts. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include: (IM)POSSIBLE ECOLOGIES, NABA Visual Arts Exhibition, Orto Botanico di Roma Polo Museale Sapienza, Rome (2022), PHARMAKON, curated by Gandhara, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Rome (2022), Bettola dalla Luna, Rome (2022), Altri luoghi, curated by Gandhara, Rome (2021), Abitare l’inabitabile, Rome (2021), Dinnerrr, curated by PiùPop, Rome (2019); Bar. peripheral bàr.ico, edited by PiùPop, Rome (2019). He is currently in residency at Fondazione Ratti, Como.